Full Contact Fighter Database







Thursday, Apr 26, 2001

Vitor Belfort:boxing Takes A Back Seat…for Now

Vitor Belfort:
Boxing Takes A Back Seat…
For Now

By Eduardo Alonso

      Vitor just told FCF that although he was set to make his pro boxing debut in las Vegas next month, he says is going to fight in Pride on May 27th, so he had to cancel his boxing match. Belfort is still looking for some boxing matches in the future, but for now he is focused on NHB again, and doesn’t want to risk an injury before Pride. His opponent in Pride is yet to be named, but Vitor is already training hard.

An FCF Classic
Vitor Belfort Vs. Tank Abbott
Vitor Belfort spanking Tank Abbott in UFC 13

An FCF Classic
Vitor Belfort Vs. Tank Abbott
Vitor Belfort spanking Tank Abbott in UFC 13

K-1 USA Championship Returns to Vegas
By Michael Afromowitz

K-1 Poster
Promoter Scott Coker knew exactly what he was doing when he decided to take on the task of bringing Japan’s K-1 mixed martial arts tournament to the United States. After making a splash debut in the American martial arts scene last year, Coker’s K-1 USA Championship tournament is set to kick off in its second year on Saturday, May 5th at Las Vegas, Nevada’s Mirage Hotel.

"We have a much better group of fighters this year compared to last year-all the big names in the sport in North America," says Coker. One of those big names, veteran Muay Thai kickboxer Maurice Smith, acknowledges the high caliber of talent present in this year’s tournament draw. "There’s no telling who’s going to win. It’s a good lineup and it’s going to be a pretty hard tournament," says Smith who reigned as World Kickboxing Association (W.K.A.) World Heavyweight Muay Thai champion from 1993-1997.

A stand-up fighting tournament, the K-1 permits its fighters to utilize punches, kicks, and knees. Because its rules are designed to allow fighters of various disciplines to compete, the tournament effectively breaks down all barriers amongst these styles and gathers the best fighters from each martial art into one ring to determine one champion. Fusing a number of arts that begin with the letter "K" such as karate, kung-fu, and kickboxing into one sport, the tournament was named K-1 in 1993 by founder and president of the K-1 Corporation, Master Kazuyoshi Ishii of Japan.

"It’s the most amazing show that I have ever seen in person. It’s circus olé and the super bowl combined into one night. Add the best fighters in the world and you have the K-1," says Coker of the event.

The USA Championship tournament consists of eight fighters divided into two brackets of two bouts. Each fight in each round of the single-elimination tournament is scheduled for three, 3-minute rounds. Fighters advance to subsequent rounds of the draw by winning their bout either via knockout or judges’ decision. The winner of the May 5th event will receive an automatic entry into the K-1 USA Semifinal tournament, which will be held in August. The winner of the August event receives an entry into Ishii’s prominent K-1 World Grand Prix Finals tournament which is held annually in December at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan.

This year’s USA Championship tournament draw is structured as follows: In one bracket, former International Kickboxing Federation (I.K.F.) world heavyweight Muay Thai champion Jeff "Duke" Roufus of Milwaukee, Wisconsin will face last year’s K-1 USA Championship runner-up, Thomasz Kucharzewski of Ontario, Canada.

"[Roufus] is a good fighter, but I don’t think I will have a problem [winning]," says Kucharzewski, who feels that he is better prepared for this year’s competition. "I started working out early and I feel good."

"[Kucharzewski] is a great fighter. I know I’ve got my hands full," admits Roufus, who has bulked up his frame from 210 to 225 lbs. for the tournament in order to better absorb the strong blows of the tournament’s heavy strikers. "I’m there to win. I’ve done well in big fights," he continues.

A highly anticipated rematch between Muay Thai kickboxers Jean Claude Leuyer of San Francisco, California and Paul LaLonde of Surrey, British Columbia will round off the first bracket of the draw. After Leuyer floored his underdog opponent during their bout in the first round of last year’s tournament, LaLonde was surprisingly able to regroup immediately and dramatically turn the fight around by landing a flurry of punches that knocked out Leuyer in the second round of the bout. "That is the beauty of heavyweight fighting," LaLonde says. "When you put two 200 lb. plus fighters in the same ring, it only takes one hit to determine the outcome of the fight," he continues.

After knocking LaLonde down during last year’s bout, Leuyer claims that he became confused as he thought the referee was going to stop the fight. "The count was very long and then I watched the ref help him up," says the International Sport Karate Association (I.S.K.A.) World Freestyle Rules champion. "It was my mistake and I won’t do it again." In anticipation of the rematch, Leuyer says that he has stepped up the intensity level of his training, placing heavy emphasis on sprinting, pad work, and sparring.

With a newfound sense of confidence under his belt after pulling off last year’s first round upset, LaLonde vows to come out more aggressively from the start this year. "I think that I gave [Leuyer] too much respect in our last bout. I am not saying that he does not deserve respect. I think that Jean Claude is a great fighter, but he can be beaten," he insists.

Mo Smith
On the opposite end of the draw, Smith is scheduled to take on K-1 newcomer Pedro Fernandez of Tijuana, Mexico while Seido kai kan karate practitioner Michael McDonald of Vancouver, Canada will square off against kickboxer Guenter Singer of Los Angeles, California via Austria.

At 39 years of age, Smith admits that he is not the same fighter as he was when he was younger, but is still recognized by officials and other experts as one of the most respected fighters in the sport of kickboxing and one of the favorites to win the event.
[Photo of Mo Smith courtesy of K-1 Japan]

"I am thrilled to be fighting [Smith] because he was my idol growing up and to now face him shows me how far I’ve come," says Fernandez. The Mexican fighter, who is skilled in Kenpo karate and competes as both a professional boxer and Muay Thai kickboxer, feels that he has what it takes to defeat his favored opponent. "I predict that I will either stop Maurice in the first round or win a 3-round decision. [He is] very ring savvy, but also ring-worn," claims Fernandez.

Last year’s K-1 USA Grand Prix tournament boasted a 100% knockout rate, marking the first time in the history of the K-1 that the outcome of every bout was decided with a knockout. "All the fighters came out blazing and the best man was left standing," says Coker. According to Roufus, fighters tend to come out more aggressively in the K-1 in order to score quick knockouts and preserve their energy for the remainder of the tournament. "You’re fighting as many as three fights in one night, so you’re going for the knockout," he says. He adds that he has increased the level of aggressiveness in his training regimen to accommodate this style of fighting.

Roufus notes that the traditionally high knockout rate of the tournament is one factor that makes the event attractive to fans. "People want to see the fast paced, big swinging, coming to get you type style [of fighting]," he says.

"K-1 could be big in North America. Everybody loves a good fight and everybody understands a tournament format," says Coker who, along with partner Mike Sawyer, became the owners of the first American production company to obtain United States television coverage of Muay Thai shows held in Thailand’s prestigious Lumpini Stadium when they brought ESPN there in 1997. "Most of my time in 2001 will be devoted to producing K-1 events. We have a plan to expand and it’s probably going to take two years to implement," he says. The American promoter’s expansion plans for the tournament include holding K-1 regional qualifying tournaments in select major cities throughout the United States next year. Such regional events would give professional super-heavyweight fighters in each region of the country the opportunity to qualify for the K-1 USA Championship tournament while they could also increase the notoriety of the K-1 as an entity.

Coker, who began his career in kickboxing promotions in 1985, became involved with the K-1 when he was invited to meet with Ishii and his K-1 Corporation colleagues last April. The corporation, which has seen the popularity of its brainchild soar to extraordinary heights over the last nine years in its native Japan, subsequently hired Coker to promote a K-1 tournament in the United States that would give North American fighters the opportunity to qualify for their K-1 World Grand Prix Finals tournament.

"Master Ishii is truly a promoter with great vision," says Coker. "Look what he’s accomplished in less than ten years. I respect him for what he’s done for martial arts and for what his goals are for the future."

FCF Fight Techniques

Twisting Body Lock Takedown
This technique is from Matt Hume
FCF Fight Techniques
Picture 1:

Jeff Monson has a right underhook and his head on the inside.

FCF Fight Techniques
Picture 2:

Jeff steps deep between Ivan’s legs on the same side as his underhook and clasps his hands around Ivan’s body.

FCF Fight Techniques
Picture 3:

Jeff Thrusts his right hip in as he pulls his grip back tightly and twists to his left causing Ivan to fall to his back.

FCF Fight Techniques
Picture 4:

Jeff lands in Ivan’s half-guard and begins to pass immediately.

Demonstrators are: Jeff Monson, a former world submission wrestling champion, and Ivan Salaverry, an up and coming AMC fighter.

Disclaimer: This technique, as any martial art or boxing technique, can be dangerous. You or your training partner may be injured if you apply or practice this technique. The author, Matt Hume, and FCF are not responsible for any injury that may result. Please consult a physician as to whether or not to attempt this technique.

FCF presents fight techniques in every issue of Full Contact Fighter.
In this month’s issue in addition to Matt Hume’s technique, Derek Panza discusses "Close Range Footwork" in Punchers Corner.
posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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